Choosing to build on the Whitianga Waterways was Plan B, but it now feels like it was meant to be.



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Water, water everywhere

Fiona Hawtin, editor of Your Home & Garden, speaks with Toni and Warren about how they worked with Brendon Gordon to realise their vision of a functional home for their family to enjoy.


To best view Warren and Toni Griffin’s house from the front you’ll need a boat. From the street, you’ll see the garage and back of the house. This three bedroom home with 2.5 bathrooms, two lounges, two laundries, a large open-plan kitchen, dining and living space faces out to Whitianga Waterways in the Coromandel.

It’s a sprawling vision in cedar and Hinuera stone – to remind Toni of her Matamata childhood – and walls of floor-to-ceiling Vantage Metro Series sliding doors. It’s these doors that bring drama to the home from the water and provide seamless indoor-outdoor flow.

The Griffins enlisted architect Brendon Gordon to realise their vision for a functional home their children and grandchildren could also enjoy. Brendon was adamant they see the water from all parts of the house, even the swimming pool, which is to the back of the house. Through the two sets of sliding doors in the open-plan area, the couple can view what’s happening on the waterways.

“We wanted a lot of glass, and as you can see, I think we’ve achieved it,” says Toni. While there is underfloor heating and air conditioning, the house doesn’t require much of either. The sliding doors help to really open up the house in summer.

“It feels like paradise. Just look at what we wake up to every morning,” says Warren gesturing out to their own pontoon and the calm water.

But living here wasn’t something they’d even considered until, frustrated by the lack of beachfront sites with an old home they had imagined they would remove and build on, found themselves falling for a section large enough to construct the single-level home they always wanted.

“We’re done with big cities and now we’re kicking back into an early retirement,” says Warren of the house from which they frequently entertain their family and newfound local friends. It’s a godsend for large parties, as witnessed when Warren had 60 people attend his 60th birthday and one of their daughters had 40 friends at her hen party.

Now all they need is the boat they’ve ordered to arrive by Christmas – and Warren, who was brought up boating, can’t wait.

Region Coromandel

The architect was adamant they see the water from all parts of the house.

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